Families who fled Tuz Khurmatu and are now living in tents are suffering the cold, waiting for the good news that they can return home.
“I am waiting for the news, hoping this government has become good and they have reached an agreement to help us return home. This is the news we want,” said one displaced woman.
As they wait, they are pleading for assistance to survive the winter.
Iraqi forces and Shiite militias took control of Tuz Khurmatu along with Kirkuk and other disputed areas in October, causing a flood of people, mainly Kurds, to flee.
According to UN figures, 172,000 people have since returned home, but more than 181,000 people are still displaced, fearing violence.
Most of the returns have been to Kirkuk, with “no discernable return movements” to Tuz Khurmatu, the UN’s humanitarian office stated in its October bulletin for Iraq.
Rights monitors Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, as well as the United Nations, have documented killings, attacks, looting, and arson in Tuz Khurmatu.